October 11, 2004, 12:00 AM

GERS bets on multi-channel retailing with Escalate

To compete more effectively, GERS decided it needed technology that could help retailers use the web to achieve multi-channel goals. Instead of developing the technology, GERS acquired Escalate.

When GERS, a developer of retail systems applications looked into the future it saw existing and potential clients focusing on one major trend: expediting multi-channel retailing.

But to compete more effectively, GERS decided it needed technology that could help retailers use the web as a catalyst to achieve their multi-channel goals and objectives.

Instead of developing the technology internally, GERS decided it needed to make an acquisition, which is a prime reason the company acquired Escalate Inc. in September.

“We were looking at the landscape and saw the big chains really beginning to embrace multi-channel retailing, and realized that there was a window of 18 months to 24 months before the trend moved down to the tier 2 and tier 3 retailers,” says Phil Kenney, GERS vice president of product management and marketing. “The timing was critical to make a move.”

Escalate brings GERS such high-profile retail clients as Williams-Sonoma, Eddie Bauer, Restoration Hardware and The Home Depot Canada. GERS’s existing client base includes retailers Kirkland’s and Hot Topic. Escalate’s suite of applications, which includes a new product configurator that lets retailers automate all processes associated with in-store special orders, ranges in price from about $30,000 to between $2 million and $3 million, Kenney says.

Among the ways Escalate will augment the GERS product suite is by providing seamless order entry and order management across multiple selling channels, GERS says. In addition, the combined company will provide coordinated management of the fulfillment process, including integration with vendors for up-to-the-minute status visibility throughout the supply chain.

Today, Escalate is being integrated into GERS’s transaction management applications for multi-channel retailing, including integrated corporate office applications for merchandise replenishment and allocation, distribution center management, and financial control. “In retailing there is about a three-year window from the time a technology is embraced by the major players to when it becomes more mainstream, Kenney says. “We wanted to be within that window.

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